Nigeria may review commitment to ECOWAS protocol on herders’ movement

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari

As Jega, Oloja, others plan confab on nomads, farmers’ clashes

Indications have emerged that Nigeria might anytime reconsider its commitment to the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Transhumance Protocol that guarantees free movement of pastoralists in the sub-region.
As a signatory, the most populous black nation is obliged not to restrict movement of herders and their cattle from neighbouring countries.

Already, arrangement has been concluded to convene a national conference on livestock reform and mitigation of associated conflicts in Nigeria.

The meeting is to be chaired by former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega in concert with a team of distinguished administrators, academics, serving and past National Assembly members from across the federation.

Members of the committee include Editor-in-Chief/Managing Director of Guardian Newspapers, Martins Oloja; Pro-Chancellor of Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano, Prof. Jibrila Dahiru Amin; Prof. Eugene Nwachukwu (Ruminant Animal Breeding & Physiology) of the Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, College of Animal Science, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State; Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Prof. Nkiru Meludu; Prof. Anselm Onyimonyi (Monogastic Nutrition) of the Department of Animal Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State and Prof. Rasheed Aderinoye of the University of Ibadan.

Others are one-time Secretary to Niger State Government (SSG) and Professor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ibadan, Muhammad Yahaya Kuta; Executive Secretary, National Commission for Nomadic Education, Prof. Bashir Haruna Usman; Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, L&Z Integrated Farms Limited, M. D. Abubakar; Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Kabiru Ibrahim; erstwhile Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Representative in Nigeria, Rabe Isah Mani; Prof. Aminu Ibrahim Daneji of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto and Prof. Isma’ila Zango of the Department of Sociology, Bayero University, Kano (BUK).

The rest comprise representative of the Senate; Bello Kaoje (representative of the House of Representatives); representative of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs. Winnie Lai Solarin; Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Nigeria to ECOWAS and representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Musa Sani Nuhu; ex-Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State; Executive Secretary, Postural Reserve, Dr. Saleh Momale; Prof. Garba Kawu of the Faculty of Arts and Islamic Studies, BUK; representative of the Nigeria Police Force, ACP Isa Garba; representative of the Department of State Services (DSS), Aliyu Bello; Permanent Secretary, Kano State Ministry of Water Resources, Dr. Usaini Ganduje; Director General, Kano State Bureau of Statistics, Alhaji Baballe Ammani; National President, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Baba-Uthman Ingelyarma and Kano State Commissioner for Information, Mallam Muhammad Garba, who doubles as secretary of the committee.

Inaugurating the 27-member panel yesterday in Abuja, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State argued that the ECOWAS protocol had become a source of pain to Nigerians.

He maintained that every Nigerian is entitled to adequate security from government, adding that there was need to intensify existing cooperation with neighbouring nations to check proliferation of small arms.

His words: I am a strong proponent of restriction of herders’ movement into Nigeria from neighbouring countries as part of solution to tackling herder/farmer clashes. However, another issue worth taking into account is the ECOWAS Transhumance Protocol, which Nigeria signed in 1998.

“This guarantees free movement to (of) pastoralists and herders across the sub-region. As a signatory to that protocol, Nigeria is obliged not to restrict movement of herders and their cattle from other ECOWAS countries. This is an issue to be looked into.”
In his remarks, Jega, who expressed concern over the politicisation of farmer-herder clashes, assured Nigerians that the proposed summit would proffer lasting solution to the menace.

He urged the citizenry to actively engage for the stability and socio-economic development of the country.

The committee’s terms of reference consist of examination of the protocol, drafting of a blueprint for reform of traditional livestock/cattle rearing and mitigation of associated conflicts in Nigeria, as well as to undertake any other activity towards successful execution of the meeting in line with set objectives.

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